CP+ 2015: Shooting with the Lytro Illum—Light Field Imaging is Here to Stay
It may not be the biggest display at CP Plus, but it sure had the biggest buzz. Every time I passed the Lytro booth, there were numerous assistants in Lytro jackets helping out a multitude of people with the touchscreen on the back of the Illum Light Field Digital Camera. The Illum is the follow-up to the first Lytro and its concept is this: images can have focus and perspective adjusted after they are captured—pretty revolutionary. Using the 4.0" touchscreen LCD or software on your computer or iOS device, you can control and continuously adjust the point of focus within an image.
The Illum is not new, and we have written about it at B&H, but this was the first time I was able to handle one and I am sold on it. Unlike Lytro Version 1, it provides a familiar camera form factor with a good zoom lens, which can focus from 0" to infinity. There are limits to this new technology, though, and its practical uses are not yet clear (although there was a shooter covering the CP Plus opening ceremony with an Illum), but I think it is fair to say that light field imaging is here to stay. In speaking with sales and marketing folk, they are extremely confident that whatever form Lytro (and Light Field Imaging) does take, it will change the industry.
And by the way, handling the Illum was a treat. Its design feels great in the hand, it’s surprisingly lightweight and all lens actions are smooth. The touchscreen interface is more user friendly than most cameras, buttons are well-placed and the flip LCD feels solid. While I did not adjust images on a computer, playing with focus on the LCD was easy… and fun.